Sunday, March 21, 2010

The school year feels like a strange hybrid of a marathon, a sprint, and an obstacle course. From the moment we set foot on campus on that first teacher workday to the last day of school, teacher are racing to teach and reteach all of the standards to students who frequently lack the foundational skills needed to master the material. Yes, we get breaks along the way, but that time is spent trying to repair and patch up personal responsibilities we have often neglected.

I know spring break is less than a week away, but I really needed a break. On Thursday, I made the decision to take Friday off. Before leaving work, I had the opportunity to laugh and talk with some of my student who had stayed after school for math tutoring. Their work was done and they were busy being children. They shared their thoughts on things, made silly jokes, and laughed, laughed, laughed. The next day at work (yes, I went). I started each core by having students share something good from the day before. I shared the following:

"Sometimes teachers become so caught up in the work of teaching, and preparing for testing, that teaching is no longer fun. I would like to thank _________, ____________, and ______________ for reminding me how much fun it is to work with middle school students. I came to work today because of the fun we have as we do our work."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Dog Training

My current adventures with Max have me looking for a faster, effective way to teach him to stop mouthing people's hands and arms and to stop jumping on them. I'm not a fan of the "remote collar" and I'm not putting in enough time or being consistent enough for positive reinforcement to nip this in the bud quickly.  I use some of Cesar Milan's techniques (like entering and exiting before allowing the dog to do so), but others (like rolling him when he makes teeth to skin contact) seem to make him behave aggressively. 

Today, I picked up a business card belonging to a trainer who uses the many of the same techniques as Milan. Coincidently, I also came across this funny skit by comedian Charlie Murphy on The Dog Blog. (Murphy does use profanity, so consider yourself warned,). While the clip is meant to be funny and exaggerate the things shown on Milan's show, it does serve as a reminder that this type of training is not based solely on positive reinforcement.